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Oh, Hail Yes: Checker Cabs Ride On in NYC, and You Can Totally Rent Them

“Greenpoint is basically the Checker capital of New York City,” says Mark Briggs, a resident of the neighborhood who rents out the iconic yellow cabs.

He makes a point. If you’ve spent any time in Greenpoint, you’ve probably seen the vintage yellow cabs (made internationally famous by shows and movies like Taxi and Taxi Driver) outside of the Henry Norman and Box House hotels. They sometimes spring into action at the request of guests who prefer the throwback rides to the hotels’ sleeker BMW shuttles. A couple of years ago, Box Street played host to the Checker Car Club of America’s annual convention, attended by about 120 Checker enthusiasts. At the time, experts estimated that just 600 to 1,000 of the vehicles were still running.

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Like a Game of Glazer Tag, All the Glazers Are Beaming Into Bell House

(Flyer courtesy of Shark Party Media)

(Flyer courtesy of Shark Party Media)

As part of the Eugene Mirman Comedy Festival, happening in two weeks in Park Slope, comedian Eliot Glazer is taking his popular show, Haunting Renditions, to the Bell House. The Sept. 17 event is part comedy show/part karaoke show in which comedians take on the vapid, popular music hits of today with the help of a backing band and reimagine them in order to “find new, deeper meaning in otherwise lightweight compositions.”

Basically it’s like a more judgmental (and probably funnier) version of Carpool Karaoke. Joining Glazer on this installment of the show are comedians Ilana Glazer and Jon Glaser. Glazer, Glazer and Glaser will—oh jeeze. I am honestly not even sure which one the host is anymore. Wow, ok we’re gonna have to suss this whole thing out.

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Dinosaur Jr. Shot a Video and Played a Surprise Free Show at House of Vans

(Photo: Daniel Maurer; all other photos courtesy of House of Vans)

Last time we caught Dinosaur Jr., during one of their 30th anniversary shows at Bowery Ballroom last year, a veritable Edison cluster of indie-rock luminaries (Kurt Vile, Evan Dando, Henry Rollins, and Kim Gordon and Lee Ranaldo from Sonic Youth, just to name a few) joined them on stage, and we wondered how Dinosaur would ever outdo it.

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MTA To House Displaced Bushwickers; Where to Drink on St. Mark’s Place

Yesterday afternoon, a motorcyclist was taken to Bellevue Hospital in serious condition after he was hit by an SUV near the intersection of Metropolitan and Grand Avenues. [DNA Info]

Juan Scott plead guilty this week to sexually assaulting women in the East Village and Stuyvesant Town in 2014. Following the latter incident, he reportedly hid in a tree to evade capture. [DNA Info]

MTA officials vowed that this time next year, Bushwick residents forced from their homes by the months-long M train repairs will be housed at the organization’s expense. [Bushwick Daily]

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It’s Showtime at Beetle House, the Tim Burton Theme Bar Facing a Cease and Desist

Meet your host, "Juice"(Photo: Nicole Disser)

Meet your host, “Juice”(Photo: Nicole Disser)

The idea of a Tim Burton theme bar opening in the East Village is so weird on so many levels that I started to drive myself bonkers unpacking the implications of this so-called Beetle House. Would this be an ironic ode to Tumblr culture and fan fiction? A comment on how themed consumer culture has reached bizarre peaks? As it turns out, Beetle House is actually just a completely earnest theme bar and restaurant dedicated to the beloved, oh-so-spooky-creepy films of Tim Burton. Which hasn’t stopped it from getting smacked with a cease-and-desist from the director’s minders.

“I was like, ‘Why don’t we open a bar?'” co-owner Zach Neil recalls telling Brian Link, his business partner and BFF who was suffering from “massive depression” last year. “Bars are fun, it’s like having a birthday party every night. People come in, they hang out, you drink, hang out, everything’s good.”

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Crawl Into The Gutter as a Brooklyn Ale House Vet Recounts His ‘Life Behind Bars’

via Dan Ruth

(Photo by Jamahl Richardson)

Walking the streets of Williamsburg, Dan Ruth can point out the buildings where squatters used to hold court. He still remembers the excellent soundtrack at King’s Pharmacy, the unvarnished temperament of the lady behind the Stroll-In Video counter, impromptu concerts in the back of bars, and gaggles of old ladies acting as the sentinels of his block. He wouldn’t claim to be part of the first wave of artists and musicians moving out to Williamsburg in search of cheap rents, but he was definitely hot on their heels.

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Forget Fuller House and Make This Olsen Twins Art Exhibit Happen

(Photo: Courtesy of THNK 1994)

(Photo: Courtesy of THNK 1994)

The Olsen twins-themed art show you never knew you needed may be coming to North Brooklyn before you’ve even had a chance to dust off your crop tops and Urban Outfitter kimonos for the summer. Last year, comedic duo Matt Harkins and Viviana Olen opened the Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan 1994 Museum in the hallway of their Williamsburg apartment. Now the two UCB alumns are looking to go beyond their four walls to show Chicago-based artist Laura Collins‘ series of paintings, “The Olsen Twins Hiding From the Paparazzi.”

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The Halls of Umbrella House: Suicides, Slayings and Squatters On Avenue C

Herewith, the final installment (for now!) of our A Lot About a Plot series, diving deep into the histories of storied addresses around town.

Gabriel Pintado

(Photo: Gabriel Pintado)

Sometimes he hears them whispering in the halls.

“Horrible things have happened here,” Jean Paul tells me. “There are spirits still lingering here.”

Jean Paul Chatham is a 40-year-old gay plumber from Belize, dark-skinned with a large bush of curly, Creole hair that he keeps brushing away from in front of his face. He’s lived at Umbrella House for about 14 years. When he greets me he is shirtless, wearing camouflage pants and two protective amulets on a chain around his neck. Although clearly physically fit, he keeps apologizing for his appearance. He says his face looks the way it does because the entire building is trying to cast spells on him, or “bless him with negative energy,” as he puts it.

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The Loner, the Lover, and the Trap Door of the Merchant’s House

This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.

The doorway of Seabury Tredwell's house as it appeared in the 1930s (New York Public Library)

The doorway of Seabury Tredwell’s house as it appeared in the 1930s (New York Public Library)

By the time she died in 1984, Helen Worden Erskine had racked up an eclectic but impressive set of interviews. The longtime New York World society writer spoke with Prince Charles of England and presidents Eisenhower and Truman, among other political and cultural luminaries. But she was perhaps most famous for her fascination with the opposite end of society: recluses.

In the late 1930s, Erskine wrote a series of sensationalistic articles about the Collyer brothers, two wealthy hoarders who had all of Harlem talking. Erskine and other reporters launched their careers writing about the sordid details of the brothers’ lives and death, including the nearly month-long search for one of their bodies in 1947, which was eventually discovered in their home beneath piles of junk.

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Paintings Inspired by the Real Housewives and ‘Comfort Creatures’ Coming to Greenpoint

"Blue Onesie," painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

“Blue Onesie,” painting by Kharis Kennedy (2015)

Next week Kharis Kennedy will unveil a series of new paintings as part of her solo exhibition, Comfort Animals, at The Greenpoint Gallery. Though Kennedy has been living in St. Croix for the last five years, her work is still imbued with trappings of high-society life and obsessive consumerism she picked up on while living in New York City. But a midnight-hued vision of her new home in the tropics is slowly beginning to take over.

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Greenpoint Hospital Goes Residential; Deep House Yoga in Williamsburg

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

(Photo: Daniel Maurer)

Yesterday Bushwick handyman Luis Perez, 50, received a life sentence for killing and dismembering his boss in 2006. [Metro US]

Plans are back underway to convert the former Greenpoint Hospital into a housing development. [Brooklyn Paper]

A developer submitted paperwork to build a 12-story, 60-unit residence in Greenpoint at 29 Clay Street. [The Real Deal]

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This New Malaysian Coffeehouse Has the Crab Balls You Crave

Stuffed Crab Ball with pulled tea (Credit: Joshua Alvarez)

Stuffed Crab Ball with pulled tea (Credit: Joshua Alvarez)

Kyo Pang, co-owner of the newly opened Kopitiam on Canal Street in Chinatown, is pulling off the rare and improbable. With remarkable concentration, she pours steaming Malaysian tea, teh tarik, from one aluminum pot to the other, lifting her hands above her head to extend the stream of tea. This is what is called “pulled tea” in Malaysia, which is something of a lost art in the Malaysian community in New York.

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